AMD Radeon RX 6000 “Big Navi” Revealed: What Do The New RDNA 2 GPUs Bring At Launch?

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28th October has finally rolled around, and AMD has finally pulled the veil off the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs, running on the RDNA 2 architecture. It isn’t the first product revealed with that architecture, as the Xbox Series S/X and the PlayStation 5, both run the architecture for their own graphical processing components. But these still are the first add-in GPUs available to be put in your rig as soon as they hit stores, starting 18th November.

RX 6000 GPUs revealed

3 New GPUs, Each For One of the Competition:

There are three new products announced: the RX 6900 XT, the RX 6800 XT, and the RX 6800. These succeed the RX 5000 series of cards, and each of them has an also newly-launched NVIDIA card to compete with, the 3090, 3080, and the 3070 respectively. AMD also compared their cards against their NVIDIA counterparts in their own testing*, thereby showing their products are at par with NVIDIA’s, equalling and sometimes even exceeding the performance of the compared GPU.

*because of the delayed launch of the RTX 3070 from NVIDIA, AMD were unable to benchmark that GPU against their RX 6800 card, and instead compared it with the RTX 2080 Ti, which we now know has comparable performance to the RTX 3070.

“Gaming Flagship” — RX 6800 XT

RX 6800 XT Front View
The RX 6800 XT with AMD’s own cooler design
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The first GPU to look from RX 6000 is the RX 6800 XT. It is different from the others in the compute unit count, boasting 72 CUs. It has 16GB of GDDR6 memory utilising a 256-bit memory interface. It will support the PCIe 4.0 interface, just like all other RX 6000 cards. It is geared to be a 4K gaming card, and its positioning against the RTX 3080 makes it clear. AMD showed it performing just as well as the competing GPU, but the final judgement of it should be left to the final benchmarks.

Comparable performance of the RX 6800 XT compared to the RTX 3080 at 4K resolution demonstrated by AMD.

The GPU boasts a “Game Clock” (a.k.a. the Boost Clock) of 2015 MHz, which can go up to 2250 MHz in an opportunistic scenario with good thermal headroom. Additionally, this card has two trump cards to pull against the 3080: power and price. The 6800 XT undercuts the 3080 by 50W, having a 300W power consumption average for the 6800 XT vs. 350W for RTX 3080. It is also priced at $649, compared to $699 for the RTX 3080.

“Lowest End” — RX 6800

Only for now surely. We sure hope for a mid-range RX 6000 series card coming soon in the future.

The RX 6800 is the cheapest RDNA 2 GPU launched so far, and features a largely similar cooler design to its more expensive brethren
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The RX 6800 is the cheapest GPU announced in the RX 6000 series, and it is another RDNA 2 card with 60 CU’s, compared to 72 of its XT brethren. It is also supposed to be a 4K-capable GPU, with satisfactory framerates in most recent titles as demonstrated by AMD. However, AMD also leveraged its new “Smart Access Memory” and “Rage Mode” technologies for this particular comparison. For the price of $579, it will likely be paired with other hardware for being used for 1440p and higher-resolution gaming, and it is shown to perform well at that range.

1440p gaming can be done very well with the RX 6800, however 4K gaming at 60fps is still achieveable in many titles with the GPU. Here as well, the RX 6800 can match and even beat the RTX 3070 in multiple titles.

AMD compared this GPU to the RTX 2080 Ti, which in turn is roughly equal to the RTX 3070, and showed that their upcoming product performs at par or better, yet again, as compared to the much higher-priced NVIDIA part from 2018. However, the current NVIDIA part that can match this is the RTX 3070 as is verifiable from the benchmarks of the RTX 3070 which itself released just yesterday. And this card is $499, so it is still the cheaper part amongst the two competitors. Conclusive judgement about the performance of these parts head-to-head can be given after 18th November, when the RX 6800 is released.

“Biggest Navi” — RX 6900 XT

The $999 Radeon RX 6900 XT, AMD’s highest-end RDNA 2 GPU introduced so far.
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The last minutes of the event had AMD’ CEO Lisa Su take the stage again to show off the highest-end GPU AMD had to showcase today: the RX 6900 XT. This model shall boast an impressive 80 CU’s, with the same other rough specifications as the RX 6800 XT. The same 16GB GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit interface compares unfavourably with the RTX 3090 with its 24GB of GDDR6X memory. However, the AMD part is still lower-priced as compared to the 3090 — by a whole $500.

The significantly cheaper RX 6900 XT can match the RTX 3090 in most games at 4K resolutions according to AMD.

It is clear that like the 3090, the 6900 XT is not a gaming-centric GPU, however, it still is the most powerful GPU in the whole product stack just announced, including in the shown gaming benchmarks. Priced at $999, it will be a “creator-focused” card, clearly, and an alternative to the RTX 3090 at a lower price. But it has to still be benchmarked properly and placed head-to-head against competitors and sister products as well to know more about its specific quirks in use. This is also a product we must wait longer for, releasing on 8th December.

Wrapping Up RX 6000

The launch event has been covered in further detail by us, and there is lots more to cover before the actual product launches as well, all of which is coming soon too. The new GPUs bring with them some much-needed competition, as NVIDIA was enjoying the convenience of having no competition at the highest end at all for a while now. We wish to cover these products after launch with benchmarks to compare them with competing NVIDIA GPUs as well as in head-to-head instances to gauge what is the best buy for your money and your use case.

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Yatharth Sood
Intern Writer at TechQuila. Amateur photographer on Instagram. EE undergrad student at MIT, Manipal.

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